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Classroom Resources for Black History Month

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The Museum has a number of ways to explore African American history next month, and now is the perfect time to plan ahead.

First, you and your students can join Coretta Scott King Book Award winning author Tanita Davis 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. CST Tuesday, February 2, for a FREE live webinar exploring the experiences of African American women in WWII.

In Davis’s Mare’s War, readers follow teens Octavia and Tali on a reluctant road trip with their grandmother, Mare. But the trip becomes more interesting as Mare begins discussing her difficult childhood in the Deep South, her decision to join the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, and the segregation she faced serving her country. The webinar will allow students to explore stories of discrimination and achievement through artifacts and oral histories. They will also be able to ask Museum educators and the author questions, and they do not need to have read the book beforehand. Sign up today to reserve your spot and receive free curriculum materials!

Second, the 2016 Student Essay Contest is a perfect project for Black History Month since this year’s prompt relates to the Museum’s special exhibit, Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in WWII. Drawing upon African Americans’ wartime experiences and a poignant letter written by twenty-six-year-old James G. Thompson in 1942, we are asking students to consider the availability of liberty and justice for all Americans seven decades after World War II. You can also download our classroom guides for Fighting for the Right to Fight and join us from 5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m. CST on Thursday, January 28, for a FREE professional development webinar on the exhibit.

Third, your students can explore African Americans’ wartime struggle against totalitarianism abroad and racism at home through a special offer on our Double Victory Virtual Field Trip. Students will learn about African American heroes such as Dorie Miller and the Montford Point Marines and will examine the Double V campaign through the music of Josh White. In conjunction with Digital Learning Day, you can book this field trip for February 15-19 for $50. That’s half the normal price! Request today!

Finally, the 2016 National History Day theme of “Exploration, Encounter & Exchange” offers many opportunities for students to research and explore African Americans’ wartime experiences.   One example is Vernon Baker, a young African-American who encountered and overcame prejudice en route to becoming one of seven African Americans to receive the Medal of Honor for their WWII service.

Get more classroom resources and ideas by signing up for our free monthly e-newsletter Calling All Teachers and following us on Twitter @wwiieducation.

Post by Dr. Walter Stern, K-12 Curriculum Coordinator at The National WWII Museum. 

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